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Food insecurity likely Minimal through the end of the consumption year

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Nicaragua
  • March 2013
Food insecurity likely Minimal through the end of the consumption year

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Affordable consumer prices along with average income and average to near-average production levels in 2012 are likely to maintain Minimal acute food insecurity (Phase 1 IPC 2.0) throughout the consumption year, even with the onset of the normal lean season in May. 

    • Coffee rust prevalence is two to three times higher than usual. Labor demand will be significantly reduced in the following harvest (2013/2014).




    Coffee-producing areas (Livelihood 12 and 13)

    • Coffee rust prevalence is two to three times higher than usual.
    • Labor demand for coffee treatment, particularly for non-migratory workers may be slightly above average through April.
    • Labor demand will be significantly reduced during the next coffee harvest (October 2013 to March 2014).

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    The Apante season harvest is ongoing and will end by late March. Crops have developed at an average rate due to average to below average rainfall during the period in the Apante areas. Minimum losses have been reported to date and updated estimates suggest an average production will be similar to last year and the five-year average instead of previous estimates of 10 to 15 percent below normal. The current harvest resulted in an improved yield, likely due in part to the government providing fertilizer and seeds to small farmers.

    Initial rainfall forecasts suggest a normal start of the rainy season with a likely normal distribution of rainfall from May to July, with minor deficits in the pacific coast area, normal in the central and north areas of the country and normal to above-normal in the Caribbean coastal areas. Forecasts (IRI, ECMWF) indicate a similar trend for most areas of the country from March to June, except for the Caribbean coast, where it is suggested to be below average. The Primera planting season will be in late May/June and it nationally produces 60 percent of white maize, 30 percent of red beans, and 20 percent of black beans annually. Primera and Postrera seasons are highly important for poor households, as their own production from these harvests in addition to purchases constitute the major food sources throughout the year. 

    From January to February, white maize and red beans retail prices followed the normal seasonal trends, stable or slightly below across the country, with minor differences between urban and rural markets. Red beans prices are below last year’s levels and even further below the five-year average. Meanwhile, white maize prices are 15 percent above last year and the five-year average levels. Markets are being supplied by national production. Red beans flows from the Apante harvest are starting to arrive and will continue in the following months, while white maize stocks in markets is reportedly to be low compared to previous years due to near-average harvest in 2012 compared to above average in past years. Prices are expected to follow the normal seasonal trends through March and start to increase normally from April through mid-August.

    The seasonal peak for labor demand will end in March for major key sectors generating labor activities, demand has been average. The coffee rust prevalence will slightly increase labor demand for treatment and maintenance activities through April 2013.

    Acute food insecurity is likely to be Minimal (IPC 2.0 Phase 1) through the end of the projection period in June 2013, even with the onset of the normal lean season in May, since most poor households will meet their food and nonfood needs from income generated from the peak of the unskilled labor season and affordable food prices. No widespread occurrence of unusual food consumption or livelihood protection strategies has been observed nor is any anticipated through the projection period.

    Coffee-producing areas of Matagalpa, Jinotega, Madriz, Nueva Segovia and Estelí (Livelihood zones 12 and 13)

    Coffee rust prevalence has maintained two to three times higher than usual, where Matagalpa, Jinotega and parts of Nueva Segovia have been the most affected (see February Remote Monitoring update). According to the Ministry of Agriculture, an estimated 36 percent of all coffee plants are affected. The severity of damage to plants has reached 25 percent in some areas. Rust has also rendered plants more vulnerable to other opportunistic infections. Authorities have initiated training to farmers to minimize further impact. Neighboring countries in the region have declared a phytosanitary emergency alert.

    Current coffee rust damage will reduce the 2013/2014 harvest by 30 percent compared to the five-year average. As a consequence, labor demand will be significantly reduced, although estimates are still unclear.

    The current coffee harvest for 2012/2013 has finished, yet some additional harvesting may take place in strictly high grown production areas throughout March. Estimates suggest that the harvest will yield 80 percent of last year’s production and 90 percent compared to the five-year average. Labor demand and wages during the season will decline 15 percent compared to last year (see January Remote Monitoring update for more detail). Despite these reductions, poor households will likely remain in Minimal acute food insecurity for the remainder of the projection period. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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